During Oct. 21-23, six Harding students visited Lakeview Church of Christ in Chicago looking for summer internships and job opportunities. The group included juniors Ben Moore, Sarah Kay Pike, Curt Baker, Trey Davis and seniors Madie McGuire, and Emma Reese.
The church is located in Uptown Chicago, one of the most ethnically diverse areas in the U.S. According to a 2015 study by the U.S. Census Bureau, the neighborhood is 53 percent white (by comparison, Searcy is 87 percent white), with significant Asian, African-American and Latin American communities. This gives the church a unique stance on relevant issues, such as tolerance and race relations.
“The morning we were (at Lakeview), the preacher talked about a Biblical approach to combatting systems of injustice,” Baker said. “An easy way to understand that is through race relations, which provides a good framework for making an impact outside the community. It’s just a very interesting way to understand and frame all that in a way that maybe we don’t see as much here in Searcy.”
Baker is a Spanish major and said he saw the trip as a way to use his language skills for ministry, as well as see what the group of students could accomplish together while looking for ministry opportunities in the city.
“I’m at the point right now where I need an internship, and it would be really nice to get a paid internship where I could use the skills I’ve learned so far,” Baker said. “The good thing about Lakeview is that it is in a really diverse neighborhood, and they really reflect the geographic area where they’re at. There are just tons and tons of different ethnicities and demographics that work together so well.”
The students expressed their intentions and enthusiasm about community outreach in Uptown Chicago, something which McGuire says stems from a more long-term plan to live and serve with fellow Christians.
“We went to Lakeview to see how it would look for us in the future … We want to live in a community with fellow Christians who have a goal of not only being mission-minded, but who could also hold us accountable to our outreach,” McGuire said. “This trip was also most time we as a group have spent with each other, so I was very unsure how that would all play out. But it was good to be with that group for that long, and really get to know one another and what we wanted to do.”
McGuire, who described Lakeview as the most diverse place she has ever been, said she was initially unsure what to expect going in.
“It was great being in a setting where I was surrounded by complete opposite groups of people just all being in the same room and working together so well,” McGuire said. “I don’t know what I was expecting going in, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be that dramatic of a difference in the types of people there for the same specific purpose.”
Davis said his plans after college are tentative, but that this trip was a good indication of what he is looking for as far as helping the community and growing in his faith.
“My plans for the future are pretty open, and I’m willing for anything to happen,” Davis said. “I’ll be searching for jobs, but after that, I’ll go in whatever direction I’m feeling pulled towards. Specifically, if I think there’s an area where I can do something like this trip, I think that would be best, where I could be with people who challenge and push me in ways that help my faith and outreach.”